As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11).
Many years ago, when I was a teenager, I spent a most memorable week at a young people’s camp. On the last evening of the camp, there was a testimony meeting. Nobody spoke. There was silence. After the camp.was over, I began to realize how much being at the camp had meant to me. Some time later, I met one of the camp leaders. I told him how much being at the camp had meant to me. He was surprised and encouraged. He said that, when no-one spoke at the testimony, he thought that nothing much had been accomplished at the camp. Years later, when I was thinking about the words, from Isaiah 55, about God’s Word not returning empty, I thought about that camp and the leader’s feeling of disappointment, when no-one spoke at the testimony meeting. As I thought about this, I began to think about what God’s Word is actually saying to us here. Does it say that the Lord’s Word will never return to us empty? No. It doesn’t say that. What it does say is this: God’s Word will not return to him empty. There’s a big difference betwen the two. When God’s Word is preached, we have no idea what God’s Spirit is doing in the minds and hearts of the hearers. Sometimes, later on, we will hear the encouraging news that God was doing more than we had realized at the time. Sometimes, we may never find out what was going on in the hearers’ minds and hearts when God’s Word was preached. When we ask the question, “What effect did the preaching of God’s Word have on the hearers?”, let us never forget this: God’s Word does not return to him empty. Going back down memory lane to the young people’s camp, there’s a song that has stuck with me down through the years. As you listen to the song and sing along with it, may you be blessed by the Lord.